May 22, 2015
Head of the Ecosystems Management Branch at the National Environment and Planning Agency, Andrea Donaldson, will next month journey to North Queensland, Australia, to sharpen her skills in coral reef management.
Ms. Donaldson is one of two Jamaicans selected for a three week fellowship that will see her visiting government departments, research stations and reef dependent businesses 'down under'. She will also meet key stakeholders and visit the habitats that make the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia's most celebrated natural attractions, unique.
Ecologist and lecturer at the University of Technology, Christine O'Sullivan was also selected for the Australia Awards Fellowship titled Improving coral reef management for sustainable development in the Caribbean and Pacific. The ladies will join 12 other marine scientists and managers from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Oceans for the three week period.
The Australia Awards are prestigious international Scholarships and Fellowships funded by the Australian Government to build capacity for professionals and academicians and strengthen its global partnerships. By providing short-term study, research and professional development opportunities in Australia, mid-career professionals and emerging leaders can tap into Australian expertise, gaining valuable skills and knowledge.
Donaldson says the knowledge gained during the three week period will be infused into NEPA's natural resource management plans. "Currently, NEPA has a programme to manage activities on land to reduce the possible negative impact on the marine and coastal environment. The Agency also implements plans for the sustainable use of these resources. The competencies gained will be used to improve on these plans and provide useful comments on the Coastal Resources Policy presently being prepared for Jamaica," she said.
Adjunct Associate Professor, Paul Marshall and Dr Adam Smith, who have extensive experience with coral reef management, are coordinating the Fellows' visit. "We have observed the global decline of coral reefs and see that training of future leaders is essential for turning the tide towards a more sustainable future. Australia is the world leader in coral reef conservation and marine resource management. This Fellowship is a chance to share Australia's expertise with the world."
The Fellowship is being hosted by Reef Ecologic Pty Ltd with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, University of Queensland, James Cook University and local industries and marine groups. The fellows will make a statement on World Ocean Day on 8 June and will give a public presentation at Reef headquarters on 10 June.